Head men's cross country and track & field coach Jim Nichols was awarded the New York State Collegiate Track Conference Distinguished Service Award Saturday at the NYSCTC Outdoor Championships. The award is presented annually to an individual who has made significant contributions to the association over the years.
Nichols is in his 27th season at the helm of the men's track & field program. He is also head coach of the men's cross country team and coached the women's track & field program for 11 years.
Under Nichols the Bombers have won 11 conference indoor and 14 conference outdoor championships, including both during the past six seasons. Nichols has earned multiple Empire 8, NYSCTC and Atlantic Region Coach of the Year honors.
Ithaca has placed in the top five at the NYSCTC indoor meet 20 times and has 22 top-five finishes at the state outdoor meet, including first-ever state titles during both seasons in 2000-01.
Nichols was selected by USA Track and Field and served on the staff for the 2002 World Cross Country Championships. He was the team leader for the U.S. junior men's team that competed in Dublin, Ireland, in March of 2002. In August 2012 he was appointed to serve a three-year term on the NCAA Men's and Women's Track & Field Rules Committee.
He has coached his track & field athletes to 50 all-America finishes at Ithaca (23 male and 27 female), including the 1992 national champion in the women's outdoor 5,000-meter run.
The Ithaca men's cross country team has qualified for the NCAA championships five times under Nichols, while five Bombers have earned all-America finishes at the national championships during his tenure.
Before his arrival at Ithaca, Nichols served for two years as head cross country and track & field coach at Plattsburgh, where he coached the 1986 indoor 800-meter run national champion.
Nichols was an all-American cross country runner at North Central College and a member of that school's national championship teams in 1978 and 1979. Following his graduation in 1979 he was an assistant track & field and cross country coach at North Central and later was a graduate assistant for both sports at Indiana University.